Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s plan to win the Kajang by-election and become the Selangor menteri besar was scuttled by the Court of Appeal that overturned his acquittal for sodomy, and sentenced him to five years jail.
There was an uproar in the courtroom when the sentence was read out, overturning the High Court’s earlier decision to acquit him for sodomy.
The 28-year-old Saiful, a former aide to Anwar, had accused him of sodomising him in 2008 and even swore on the Quran that he was telling the truth.
Judge Datuk Balia Yusof Wahi, who led a three-man bench, delivered the court’s decision in 90 minutes after hearing submissions from both parties yesterday and today.
Anwar’s defence team then sought an adjournment until next week to allow them to prepare for mitigation.
His lawyer Karpal pleaded that every opportunity should be given to his client.
“On Monday Anwar will have to be present in Parliament as the King will open the House and on Tuesday he will deliver his speech as opposition leader,” Karpal said.
But Balia insisted that Karpal Singh, who is leading Anwar’s defence, must submit mitigating circumstances in an hour’s time.
This led Anwar to react angrily by standing up and shouting at the decision.
“Just do it now!” he exclaimed loudly, in apparent reference to the sentencing.
“It’s all over again, they want to put me in the lock-up, that is why they want to continue with the mitigation,” said Anwar.
A tearful Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, along with daughter Nurul Izzah Anwar, rushed to his side in an attempt to calm Anwar.
However, Shafee objected to the request. He said the appeal has not been rushed and mitigation must be done today.
“I am equally unprepared, but ready to make submission,” he said.
He said he was sure Anwar would appeal to the Federal Court.
He said it was the fault of Anwat that this case had been delayed since July last year.
Karpal said Shafee was speaking with a forked tongue as he would not act in this manner if he was a lawyer representing a client.
“This is the problem of appointing a mercenary as DPP,” Karpal thundered, followed by a shouting match between the two.
Karpal told Shafee to sit down as he was holding the floor.
Balia then said he would give the defence and prosecution an hour to prepare their submissions.
Karpal attempted to address the bench, but the judges just walked out.
With this verdict, Anwar’s political career looks to have ended. He will be disqualified from all his political positions and will not be the PKR candidate in the Kajang by-election to be held later this month.
There was further tension in the courtroom and those in the public gallery shouted at the bench, causing the judge to adjourn proceedings for one hour.
In an immediate response, PKR strategic director Rafizi Ramli said: “The worst feeling is that I am not shocked and was prepared mentally for this round of injustice.”
Selangor Menteri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim expressed his “regret over the Court of Appeal’s decision. Another dark episode in the country’s judiciary institution.”
Former Bersih co-chair Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan said through her Twitter account, that she was shocked and called on Anwar to stay strong
“I can’t believe this is happening!” she said.
PKR’s Elizabeth Wong, who is Bukit Lanjan assemblywoman, said: “Shocking. Court of Appeals overturns High Court decision to acquit @anwaribrahim. Where is Justice?”
Batu MP Tian Chua tweeted: “Najib has declared war against Pakatan Rakyat; the people are ready for an all out uprising!”
Ahead of the decision, this afternoon police tightened security outside the court and closed the road in front of the Palace of Justice (PoJ) in Precinct 2, Putrajaya. The main compound outside the PoJ was also cordoned off with yellow crime scene tape.
Media personnel were issued passes to enter the courtroom, while access was limited for visitors and supporters. There were at least 50 media personnel waiting outside the courtroom.
Police presence was limited, with groups of 4-5 personnel posted at strategic locations, including the PoJ entrance, in the main lobby and outside the courtroom. – March 7, 2014.